by Dennis Dalman
Some truckers feel as if they are living their lives under a microscope, wondering from day to day who is going to harass them next.
That is the opinion of Joyce Brenny, who spoke on that subject last week during a “Salute to Women in Trucking” truck show in Louisville, Ken.
Brenny has been named the “2012 Business Central Mark-of-Excellence Women Business Champion,” an award bestowed by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. She will receive the award at a Chamber banquet May 3 at the St. Cloud Holiday Inn. Other honorees at the banquet will be Pat Huesers and Mike Meyer of PAM’S Auto (Small Business Owners of the Year) and Jim Christensen of Array Services Group (Business Owner of the Year). To get tickets for the banquet, call the Chamber at 251-2940, ext. 126.
Brenny said receiving the Chamber award is a true honor, but she quickly added, “The truest honor is being a part of a team – the team members at Brenny’s.”
Brenny, who was raised in St. Joseph, started Brenny Transportation in 1996.
In recent years, she has been a frequent spokesperson on behalf of truckers.
“Truckers are professionals and yet they get no respect,” Brenny said, during an interview with the St. Joseph Newsleader. “Truckers are under attack for no apparent reason. They get regulations and more regulations from every angle, and they get randomly pulled over (by law enforcement) for no reason. They have to keep a log (daily journal) of what they do on their off-time. Who else has to do that? They have improved the trucking safety record by 30 percent. If any other industry had that kind of excellent record, they would have honors bestowed on them. Truckers do not get the respect they deserve.”
In past years – and to this day – Brenny has also been a strong voice for women truckers, and she practices what she preaches, having hired many women truckers throughout the years. In fact, she started her business with three female employees and one truck. Now, Brenny’s has a staff of 80 – 30 office staff and 50 drivers. She is always on the lookout for female drivers who want to join the Brenny “family.” Brenny’s general manager and safety manager are both women.
From the very beginning, Brenny was determined to be a mentor for women in the trucking industry, and she has been honored many times for her pioneering work on that score.
Brenny was the first woman chair of the Minnesota Trucking Association, she is a member of the Women in Trucking organization and was named “Influential Woman of the Year” by that organization.
Throughout the years, Brenny has been involved with every aspect of the trucking industry – ownership, management, dispatching, sales and on-the-road trucking. Her trucking routes extend throughout the United States and parts of Canada. She and her husband, Todd, who is also a Brenny’s employee, still haul freight over-the-road now and then.
“It keeps us grounded and in touch with our drivers,” she said.
Brenny’s many years in trucking seemed destined to be. As Joyce Sauer, she and her brothers grew up on a farm in rural St. Joseph along Island Lake Road. Her beloved grandmother, now 86, still lives on that property. And Joyce and her husband live on property less than a mile from where she was raised.
“I was a tomboy, and trucking later just seemed like a natural fit for me,” Brenny said.
She began her career as a trucker in 1980 right after graduating from high school. After she married, she and husband Todd were a trucking tag team for years.
The Brennys have two grown children – Holly Simon, a registered nurse at St. Cloud Hospital; and Scott Brenny, who works in maintenance for Brenny’s.